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Newcastle Brown Ale will soon be produced in America with American hops.

Mike Pomranz
February 12, 2019

Despite Brits well-known proclivity towards a pint, British beers aren’t particularly popular in the United States. In fact, among the top ten selling imported beer brands in the United States, brews from the United Kingdom are nowhere to be found. One of the few English brands that has gained traction in America is Newcastle Brown Ale — and now, that classic brew is getting relaunched… and becoming more Americanized than ever.

The new Newcastle — set to arrive this March — will be brewed by none other than the seminal California craft beer brand Lagunitas, better known for its hoppy flagship beers like Lagunitas IPA and Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale. To understand why California brand will be brewing one of the best known “English” beers, we first have to look to The Netherlands of all places. The Amsterdam-based Heineken first bought a stake in Lagunitas in 2015 before snapping up the remainder of the company in 2017. Conveniently enough, Heineken bought the Newcastle brand as part of a 2008 deal — and as a result, since 2017, that “British” beer has actually been brewed in Holland before making its way to the United States.

That odd path is now set to change: Moving forward, the American version of Newcastle will be produced at Lagunitas’ breweries in Petaluma, California, and Chicago, Illinois. If you like Newcastle, that’s ostensibly good news: Would you rather have an “English” beer that is imported all the way from The Netherlands or an “English” beer that is brewed fresh on American shores? The latter option is probably both better for your taste buds and more sensible in general.

“Lagunitas Brewing Company is one of the most recognized and respected brewers in the craft beer space,” Newcastle Brand Director Amy Tay said in a statement. (For the record, the Brewers Association, which has an official definition for the term “craft” brewery, no longer recognizes Lagunitas as a craft brewery because they are owned by Heineken, and thus don’t meet the independence requirement.) “Now with Lagunitas in the family, we have the perfect partner to reimagine our beloved Newcastle Brown Ale.”

Speaking of reimagine, that’s the final twist in our Newcastle story: This English beer will also see its recipe tweaked to include American Centennial and Chinook hops and Lagunitas’s own English house ale yeast. “We are not known for malty beers,” Brewmaster Jeremy Marshall explained. “We are really honored and excited to re-imagine the new Newcastle Brown Ale using our malts, hops, and yeast for a silky smooth flavorful experience.”

So to recap, the American made, American hopped version of the formerly Dutch-imported English brand Newcastle Brown Ale should be hitting stores next month. Whether you’ll be able to find it in the domestic, imported, or craft section of your local beer retailer, well, we’ll leave it up to them to sort that one out.

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